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The Frederickian Monarchy And The Enlightenment In Prussia

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Chapter Summary

This chapter offers a historically contextual reading of Johann Christoph Woellner, the Edict on Religion, and opponents of both. It traces origins of both Woellner and the edict back to the monarchical structures of Frederickian Prussia and shows how the bureaucratic elite's association with state power actually mandated Woellner's religious policies. Frederick II, who reigned from 1740 to 1786, influenced intellectual and political developments across Europe. His relationship to the European Enlightenment and its Prussian variant is multi-faceted, but two aspects are important in the chapter. First, there is the idea, dating back to the eighteenth century, that Frederick II's authoritarian politics made vigorous public debate possible. Second, there is the Frederickian tradition of enlightened absolutist governance. Throughout Frederick II's reign, but particularly after the Seven Years War, the royal administration made determined efforts to modernize the Prussian state by hiring experts to manage large segments of the economy.

Keywords: Enlightenment; Frederick II; Johann Christoph Woellner; Prussia

10.1163/ej.9789004176515.i-244.8
/content/books/10.1163/ej.9789004176515.i-244.8
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